Sunday, April 12, 2015

One Is The Loneliest Number: Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry and Tom Lichtenheld

Stick is lonely.

Stone is solitary.

Stick is the only twig on the beach, blown from his tree, with only one leaf left to remind him of his fellows.

Stone is a solo igneous rock regurgitated from his volcano. All by their lonesome, they both feel like the only pebble on the beach.



Seesaws are a downer for Stone. It's a one-sided ride. Pinecone jeers when Stone rolls off the swing at the park. But Stick comes to his rescue, and with a word orders Pinecome to beat it.


An unlikely union is forged. The new friends set out together to explore, Stone going ahead, flattening a path in the tall grass for Stick to waddle along behind him. They bask together on the sunny beach--until disaster befalls them both.

A hurricane strikes! Stone stays steady, but Stick is picked up by the wind, along with Pinecone, and blown inland, leaving Stone alone, gazing sadly at Stick's lost leaf left on the sand.

Stone sets out to search, day and night, calling for his windblown friend.


At last, his search-and-rescue mission is successful--sort of. He come upon his friend, stuck upside down in the muddle of a monster puddle.

But Stone has one thing on his side--MASS! Smiling, he applies physics and rolls downhill, right into the pond, where his displacement generates enough force to splash Stick right out onto terra firma. Stick is full of superlatives for his weighty friend.


Together Stick and Stone are not just the latest storybook odd couple. Together their one and zero make... a 10, in Beth Ferry's new Stick and Stone (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015). Author Ferry not only tells her tale in a text that new readers can navigate with ease, but also with fine rhymes and a few choice puns to tickle the funnybones of youngsters lucky enough to discover this one. Not only does she show friends in need indeed, but offers a bit of comeuppance for her lightweight but eventually repentant bully, Pinecone. All ends well, thanks also to the mighty skills of Tom Lichtenheld (illustrator of the perennial best-seller, Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site,) who imparts plenty of personality with two dots and a mouth line for his protagonists. It's friends to THE END of this book, or... maybe not, if youngsters refuse to let Stick and Stone get by without a sequel.



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